Sony’s called off its Chinese PlayStation 4 launch with just three days to go.
The Japanese electronics giant hasn’t confirmed the reason for the launch delay — originally set for Jan. 11 — citing only “various factors.” Reuters claims that a Sony source in China blamed prolonged negotiations with the Chinese authorities. Sony has not provided a new launch date for its home console, which has sold 18.5 million units worldwide in just over a year.
Breaking into the Chinese market — closed to foreign consoles for 14 years — is a big deal for both Sony and its main rival, Microsoft. China is second only to the U.S. in terms of game earnings, breaking the $18.5 billion mark in 2014.
It’s little wonder that console manufacturers want a piece of the Chinese gaming market, but it’s proving tough to enter. Microsoft’s Xbox One suffered a similar delay when it launched in China back in September, and it’s made little impact on gamers more used to playing on PC and mobile devices.
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“If you look at what happened in Korea, Korea has no restrictions on consoles, but it’s still predominantly a free-to-play PC market,” Bo Wang, the vice president of Tencent — the largest game company on earth — told GamesBeat back in August. “If people access games for the first time on the PC platform, most likely their friends will be on that platform. Certain people prefer to enjoy the console experience. In absolute numbers, it’ll be a big group, a mature enough market. But in relative percentages, it might not be that significant.”
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